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Nicola Okin Frioli July 14, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Italy.
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Sardinia, Italy 2008

Nicola Okin Frioli (b.1980, Italy) has been working for several years in the areas of reportage and portraiture. Since 2004 he has traveled through Northern Mexico, India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Sardinia. His work has been published in The New Yorker Magazine, Geo, The Guardian, Internazionale, I Viaggi del Sole (RCS Periodici), Io Donna (Republica), La Jornada, Vanity Fair, Maclean’s Magazine, The Financial Times and others. His photographs were included in the exhibit ‘Resiliencia’ at Photo Espana in 2009. Nicola works with the Anzeberger Photo Agency in Austria and is currently based in Mexico City.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph is from my project ‘The Last Sardinian Shepherds. Being an island, Sardinia has maintained its secret customs. It has done so with an aging population as there are few possibilities this independent region of Italy offers for young people. Sheep rearing has always been the driving force of Sardinia for centuries, but it is dying. There are more than three and a half million sheep, cows, goats in Sardinia- many more than Spain and France. Until recently, a shepherd could support his family and also have savings. They are now unable to survive. Nowadays, Sardinian shepherds must choose between remaining in a state of poverty because of restriction from manufacturers and banks who undersell their livestock, or turn to crime in desperation.”

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William Daniels July 9, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Kyrgyzstan.
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Osh, Kyrgyzstan 2008

William Daniels (b. 1977, France) began his career by photographing street children in the Philippines in 2004.  In 2007, he won the Lagardere Foundation grant for a long term project on Kyrgyzstan. This story, screened at Visa festival in 2009 and will be published in book form. His long-term work on Malaria, Mauvais Air, was exhibited on the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris in 2008 and has received several awards including 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo and 1st Prize in the POYi.  His photographs have appeared in Le Monde 2, Newsweek, Elle, La Republica and Der Spiegel. He has collaborated with organizations including Open Society Institute, MSF, The Global Fund and various UN agencies. He is represented by Panos Pictures.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph while waiting in my guide’s car during a traffic jam in Osh, the main city in southern Kyrgyzstan. There was this nice winter light  on the lady’s face that was filtered by the trees along the road. I made two frames. She wasn’t looking at me on the first shot and I finally kept this one as I preferred her expression. This image is part of a long term social portrait of Kyrgyzstan called Faded Tulips. The aim of this work was to establish whether the 2005 tulips revolution was a real hope of change and democratization for Kirghize people. I believe that the situation in Kyrgyzstan is now worse than it was before the Tulips revolution. Frustration and anger are growing and another event -a real uprising this time- is about to happen. Lets hope the new leaders will resist to the appeal of the nepotism that is characteristic of so many central Asian countries.”

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Steven Achiam July 7, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Japan.
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Sumo wrestlers training, Japan 2007

Steven Achiam (b. 1976, Denmark) graduated from the Danish School of Journalism. His photo stories have been published in newspapers and magazines in The Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Denmark and Norway. In 2009 he followed families living with climate change in DR Congo, China, Georgia and Syria. His video shorts awarded him “TV-photographer of The Year” and the website was prized “Multimedia site of the Year” by the Danish Press Photo of the Year. In 2008 he was honored by the Unicef Photo jury for his long term book project about Sumo boys in Japan He has also won a World Press Photo Award in 2007 for his story on the living conditions of a migrant worker in the Kuwait desert. Steve is based in Copenhagen.

About the Photograph:

“Gaining confidence and being accepted are some of the reasons the boys from the Hirigaya Sumo Club practice Sumo wrestling. At age six Shunsuke is motivated to gain strength and get limber through hard training with older boys, who are both gentle and careful to help the young wrestler. Like ballet, Sumo wrestling is a niche among children’s sports in Japan. You find the strongest interest among middle class families outside the major cities, where the Sumo tradition is kept alive. 50,000 boys between the age of 4 to 14 are introduced to Sumo wrestling by their parents. Young wrestlers usually have an average body build and although obesity is not a structured part of the training program, at a later point being obese comes as a slight advantage. The old Japanese see Sumo as a school of life while the modern Japanese turn their eyes to baseball.”

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Nicola Lo Calzo July 5, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Niger.
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Niger 2008

Nicola Lo Calzo (b.1979, Italy) initially trained as a landscape architect and subsequently obtained a Master of Visual Arts at the University of Turin in his native city where he began his photographic career. Since 2005 Nicola lives and works in Paris. Portraiture and reportage with the focus on identity and socio-cultural considerations of his subjects are his major interests. He was nominated  for the Magnum Expression Award in 2009 and HSBC Photography Award the same year. Nicola is currently working on “Morgante”, a photographic project about “the minorities” in West Africa.”

About the Photograph:

“These photographs are part of a series called ‘Inside Niger, Portraits from Sahel’ commissioned by the Paris City Council and Conseil General de Val de Marne. They were shot in the Tillaberi and Dosso  region of Niger. The photographs compose an eclectic portrait of the Niger river universe where every person searches for identity through their work in one of the poorest countries of the world. In each of the portraits the subjects stressed the value and  identity derived from their work. I spent all my day in the fields talking with the farmers. Bachir was working on a vegetable garden along the river when I passed to visit him and his friends. It was 5 pm and the sun was setting. He brought me to see a part of his field when I noticed his back. His dignity and pride touched me deeply. The way he walked along the path. I shot at that moment.”

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Michelle Frankfurter May 12, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. 1994

Michelle Frankfurter (b.1961, Israel resides USA) graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in English. She spent three years as a staff photographer for the The Herald – Journal and Post Standard in Syracuse, New York. Before settling in the Washington, DC area, Frankfurter spent three years living in Nicaragua where she worked as a stringer for Reuters and with the human rights organization Witness For Peace documenting the effects of the contra war on civilians. In 1995, a long-term project on Haiti earned her two World Press Photo awards. She has worked for a number of editorial publications, including The Guardian of London, The Washington Post Magazine, Ms., Time, and Life Magazine. Her personal documentary work has been featured in exhibits at the Arlington Arts Center, The Washington Project For the Arts and the Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia.

About the Photograph:

“I took this photograph during a funeral service in Haiti’s National Cemetery in Port-au-Prince. The sprawling cemetery in Haiti’s capital city lies at sea level; therefore, the tombstones are raised above ground. Nevertheless, because Haiti is so heavily deforested, flash floods occurring during the rainy season send water cascading from the hills where it rushes through the cemetery, often flushing out caskets along with their human remains. Although I was present in Haiti during one of its many tumultuous periods of political unrest, when violent killings were a nearly daily event, this particular funeral was unrelated to the then current state of conflict. Nonetheless, death and funerals are never ending in Haiti. I had taken several photographs showing the larger overall scene: a group of about fifty mourners perched like a flock of solemn birds amid a landscape of raised tombstones. I eliminated most of the literal context of the image; the tight perspective resulted in an ambiguous photograph.”

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Verve Photo Celebrates Two Years Online March 22, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma.
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Salvador, Bahia Brazil 2002 by Geoffrey Hiller

What do the editors of National Geographic, Time Magazine, Mother Jones, The Wall Street Journal and other publications have in common? Hard to believe it, but I found out they regularly view Verve Photo searching for photographic talent and story ideas. When I started the Verve blog two years ago I had no idea there would be a need for such a showcase.  At that time I was struck by the emerging young photographers who were traveling to countries across the globe to pursue projects that mattered to them, from the political to the personal. And then there were the ones who remained closer to home, uncovering images no less powerful. During the past two years we have featured the work of  close to 400 photographers from almost every country in the world. The definition of ‘new breed’ has since expanded to include striking work that is not bounded by age, but rather by inquisitiveness and passion.

The tidal wave of documentary photography online seems to have only increased the need for an editorial filter. At the same time our viewers have steadily grown in number. Wherever I go it’s amazing to meet so many people who know about Verve, and more, who are excited and who find inspiration from the blog. This may be because Verve Photo is not an ‘aggregator of content’ but is more labor intensive, with a two-month lead time before each posting that involves discussion with each photographer.

I want to thank all of you who have generously shared your work, and helped create what has now become a community that includes regular viewers as well as picture editors, designers and curators. Those of you who appreciate the effort involved in putting this work together here at Verve Photo, please consider making a donation. That way we can all enjoy meeting more great photographers in the future.

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Benjamin Lowy March 25, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Haiti.
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Revolution in Haiti, 2004

Benjamin Lowy (b 1979) is currently covering the Iraq war, the same place he began his career in 2003. Since then he has worked on major stories in Afghanistan, Haiti, Indonesia, Libya, Darfur, Vietnam and India. The list goes on… His photographs from Iraq were chosen by PDN as some of the most iconic of the 21st century.

A recent contributor to the VII Photo Agency Network, Lowy’s work is visually daring. He is a photographer’s photographer. In revisiting his extensive web site I was struck by the energy of his images. He is constantly pushing the limit and approaching his subjects in new ways.

Davin Ellicson March 19, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Romania.
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En route to a livestock market, Maramures, Romania

Davin Ellicson is a 30 year old American photographer based in Bucharest, Romania. Davin’s photographs of Romanian peasants will be featured in a forthcoming book called ‘East’ due out in May 2008 showcasing 17 photographers’ projects in Eastern Europe from the Anzenberger photography agency. His work from the Maramures series was chosen for American Photography 23 and screened in Arles, France at the Voices Off Fringe Festival.

About the Photograph:

“This photograph of peasants is from the village of Valeni in the Maramures region of northern Romania enroute to a livestock market in a neighboring town. Villagers meet on Thursdays to trade gossip, sell animals and enjoy themselves. I was 25, adventurous and in love with black and white film when I checked out of the modern world and lived with a family in Valeni, farming and photographing and savoring the last vestiges of European folk culture. I met the Nemes family in a field while they were making a haystack at the end of the summer and ended up staying for a year. Romania has since joined the European Union in 2007 and the youth from the villagers now spend most of the year abroad in Italy and Spain working itinerant jobs. The EU has strict agricultural regulations and the future of traditional life in Maramures is uncertain. There are now even plans to create commercial farms”.

Chan Chao March 10, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Burma.
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Portraits along the Burmese Thai border from his book “Something Went Wrong”

Chan Chao traveled along Myanmar’s border with Thailand and India on a personal assignment to rediscover his roots. His family migrated to the United States when he was 12 and he wanted to learn more about his own culture. In the process, he documented portraits of people he met; trying to portray the long-suffering people’s hope against the military regime. Months after his work, many of the places he went to were overran and razed by the army.

Donald Weber March 9, 2008

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.
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From the series: Bastard Eden: Chernobyl At Twenty

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Donald Weber is an award-winning photographer currently residing between Moscow and Kiev. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007, and has also received the Lange-Taylor Documentary Grant, awarded annually by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, with writer Larry Frolick, and a World Press Award. Donald was recently named PDN ‘S 30 new and emerging photographers.

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